Chelsea scored twice and kept a clean sheet to beat Fenerbahce 3-2 on aggregate and progress to the semi-finals of the 07/08 Champions League and a rematch with Liverpool.
A better performance by Chelsea this time although they lost Cudicini to injury and Essien picked up a booking that will keep him out of the first semi-final leg at Anfield.
It’ll surely be interesting to see how Grant’s Chelsea handle Rafa’s Liverpool in the Champions League. The fans might not have that much confidence in him but if there was ever a test he could pass to prove his credentials, it’s Benitez, Liverpool and a Champions League semi-final.
2nd Leg Preview
Chelsea take on Fenerbahce today at Stamford bridge in a game that they need to score at least two goals more than the opposition (keeping in mind Fener’s ability to score away from home) to safely negotiate a berth in the Champions League semi-finals where they will meet the winner of tonight’s Liverpool v Arsenal clash.
We predicted that Chelsea would beat Fener and I’d say that the hosts are still favourites, but you have to consider the possibility that if the spirit flags even for a little bit, Fener could surprise Chelsea tactically and after all they don’t need to win, they just need to draw.
With that being said, expect both sides to put out their best XI and for both sides to go for a win. This just might be more entertaining than the game at Anfield (even though that will have the greater hype).
First Leg: Fenerbahce 2-1 Chelsea – Can Fenerbahce end Grant’s reign next Tuesday?
A night where Chelsea scored no goal (own-goal by Deivid, and not exactly a straight-forward deflection either) and lost their undefeated record in Europe (Barcelona and Manchester United are the last 2 sides left standing) for this season, and that’s the least of their worries.
The atmosphere at Sukru Saracoglu was electric but Chelsea got off to a solid start, and at half-time were at a reasonable advantage with the scoreline 1-0. Surely playing on the counter and working for a 2-0 away win was the plan?
Except that Zico’s substitutions made the difference and Fener in general raised their game to a new level, dominating Chelsea in the 2nd half and scoring 2 goals, including a 30-yard beauty by Deivid.
There was no red card to put Chelsea under undue pressure. They had the lead, they had the advantage and they bottled it. You would still fancy them winning at Stamford Bridge but with a 1-goal advantage all Fener need to do is score away from home and they’ve got an excellent chance of making the semi-finals.
And no matter what anyone says, Grant’s tenure at Chelsea will be turned into a living hell by the press if Chelsea are dumped out of the Champions League by Fenerbahce. Next week’s game is the 4th big test of Grant’s career – he’s running at 1 to 2 (beat Arsenal at home, lost to Spurs in the League Cup final and to United away from home). Home advantage, but it’s a sticky one.
Fenerbahce incidentally have won all 6 homes games in the Champions League this season – quality stuff, no? Next weekend’s betting tip – back Fener to score.
51% trust Chelsea to overcome the Turks, while 26% believe the match to end in a draw
Chelsea best predictors says that Chelsea will win.